THE environmental group, Coastwatch, is to bring a High Court challenge against a decision to allow commercial fishing for razor clams in Waterford Estuary.
It had sought permission for the challenge (Waterford Today, Sept 18) and last week, in a reserved judgment, Mr Justice Richard Humphreys said he was satisfied “in principle” that the action could go ahead. He granted an injunction banning commercial fishing of razor clams in the Waterford Estuary area until the outcome of the action is known.
Coastwatch says that razor clams are fished using hydraulic dredges which penetrate the sediment on the seafloor.
It claims the operation disturbs other marine species as well as the razor clams, and there is no certainty that these other species will recover.
unusual and complex
The judge noted that part of the estuary where fishing has been permitted is in a Special Area of Conservation.
But he said this was not, by itself, the reason the court was prepared to put the injunction in place.
He said “unusual and complex” matters had been taken into account and he concluded that granting the injunction was the way to ensure the least risk of an injustice occurring.
The action is against several state bodies including the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority which made the decision to allow razor clam fishing in the estuary.